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May 24, 2013

Bipartisan Legislation to Reform Nation’s Chemical Laws Calls for Minimization of Animal Testing

The Chemical Safety Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill which gives the Environmental Protection Agency increased authority to ask for information about industrial chemicals and supports the use of approaches that do not rely on animal testing, was introduced in Congress this week. S. 1009 is sponsored by Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and David Vitter, R-La. Kate Willett, director of regulatory toxicology at The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement:

“The HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are pleased to see that the recently introduced, bipartisan bill to update the Toxic Substances Control Act calls for a reduction in animal testing and supports the goal of moving to a pathway based approach to chemical safety testing. We are grateful to Senators Frank Lautenberg and David Vitter for introducing a bill that brings U.S. policy in line with 21st century science, recognizing that a reliance on animal testing is not in the interests of protecting human health or the environment.”

Facts:

  • Tens of thousands of animals are killed each year in safety testing of industrial chemicals.
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act was originally passed in 1976; since then, there has been a revolution in our understanding of biology and development of non-animal methods to assess chemical safety.
  • In 2007, the National Academies of Science published a report, “Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century; a vision and a strategy,” that describes a move away from animal testing toward a mechanism-based approach to chemical safety assessment. The EPA has incorporated this vision into its long-term strategy.
  • This bill allows the EPA to ask more broadly for information about industrial chemicals and in the short-term may result in increased animal testing, but it also supports a transition to assessment methods that do not rely on animal testing.
  • Although the bill stops short of allowing animal testing only as a last resort as European legislation does, this bill calls for the ‘minimizat(ion) of animal testing through the use of scientifically reliable and relevant test methods.’

Media Contact:  Niki Ianni: 301-548-7793; nianni@humanesociety.org

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